I’ve been an Ambassador for the Los Angeles Abilities Expo for the last 4 years and last year and this year our show Donna On The Go had a Booth at the Expo. This was the largest ever Expo in the 40 year history of the event.
Preparing for the Abilities Expo is a lot of work. Peggy lists all the items we need to put together the Donna On The Go Booth this includes, tables, chairs, television, and electrical equipment, all need to be checked and ready to go. She also edits and makes video files so we can have something playing on the television for people at the Expo to see. She needed to rent a Cargo Van to take the Step and Repeat backdrop with our logo on it to the Convention Center downtown, in all the traffic. The Step & Repeat is 8 x 8 and wouldn’t fit in a car. Peggy was very fortunate to have Dan Rendant to help her set up the booth on Thursday February 21. Booths can be set up one day prior to Opening Day.
The Expo this year took place on the week of the Academy Awards so getting the Step & Repeat there and set up and Photographers and our friends to come out was daunting and incredibly hard to schedule.
On Oscar weekend, Peggy was fortunate to get Getty Images to come to the event on Friday from 11am to noon, this was amazing and she pulled it off. Thank you to all who came out to celebrate with us.
Keely Cat Wells
Paul Amadeus Lane
Kevaleen Ryan Lara
Sally Lo Monaco
Day One went well and it was enjoyable to meet everyone visiting the Expo, and explaining that Donna On The Go was a show on You Tube that was funny and free! I felt so good when people stopped to watch the show and laughed or said they could relate to the challenges.
On Saturday we arrived at the Expo a little tired but raring to go! Pamela Wade Watkins came to help us with Lil Kevin Alcorn Jr. They were both a huge help to us, and boy can Lil Kev bust a move!
We also had the amazing support of Dan Rendant who helped us out in the booth. When you have a booth you can’t leave it unattended so having help means you can actually go and network with other people there, or get something to eat for everyone or even go to use the restroom.
Glenn Francis of PR Photos took pictures and we are so appreciative of the support of all those that came out to take pictures with us. All of this arranged by Peggy Lane!
Gail Ford Williamson
Kristin West also surprised us with a Facebook Live interview.
IdeaTeTv came by and interviewed us.
Peggy was determined to get pictures with Micah Fowler from Speechless, who was signing autographs and taking pictures at another location at the Expo. Sally Lo Monaco and Peggy Lane whisked me off to his location. We made it and we got pictures. Micah is so nice and a pleasure to know. We are so happy that Speechless has a voice and is representing the community. We need more voices and we believe that Donna On The Go represents a missing voice as well.
Sunday was the third and final day of the Expo and our voices were a little raspy from talking to everyone and spreading the word about our show for the last two days.
Before the Expo opened we did an interview with Betsy from Wheel Life. We talked about the show and how it started. Betsy Bailey was lovely and it was an enjoyable time.
We were so happy to have Jennifer Woods and Dan Rendant to help us the whole day.
A little later, Peggy spotted Micah Fowler by the accessible vans so we went to talk with him and take a little video as he talked about the van that his family had and how fantastic it is. The van is the first accessible hybrid van that gets 84 miles a gallon! Peggy and I went to check it out she rolled me in the back. The spot for a wheelchair is in the back and is centered so if you’re in a chair you can see out the front window. It’s beautiful and priced around the usual range for those kind of vehicles.
I can’t express how helpful it is to have assistance at the booth, and we’re able to walk around and talk to other vendors and get pictures and videos. It was really great to talk to Stephanie Thomas at Zappos adaptive clothing. The Metro Buses are doing some amazing things to make it easier for People with Disabilities to use public transportation.
At 2 pm it was time to get to the rehearsal room to prepare for our 3pm performance. Peggy rolled me up to the rehearsal room around 1:30 pm to make sure the room would be open and we wouldn’t lose time waiting for keys etc. and I waited there for Tam and the other Dancers. Right after taking me to rehearsal Peggy waited for twenty minutes outside the loading dock so Tam could get her parking pass. It was quite the production. Tam’s cell phone wasn’t available!
Tam arrived and we rehearsed for about 45 minutes. Performance time came fast, and it all went well. The most touching part was when the audience members came up to dance with us. The smiles that came on their faces were heartwarming and joyful. The Dance touched them and they felt something I hope they keep with them forever. What a fantastic day and an honor to be part of something that brings joy to people with challenging lives!
Thank you to Peggy Lane, Christian Blair and Jennifer Woods for filming the Dance. Thank you to the Tam Warner for the beautiful choreography and taking the time for rehearsals. Thank you to the Dancers for doing a wonderful job:
Jenna Filippelli, Katie Powers-Faulk And Danielle Jensen.
We were the last dance of the day and closed the Expo. Dan, Jen, Peggy and I stayed until about 7 pm. We had to wait for Sami to pick up the frame for the Step & Repeat. We own the Step & Repeat canvas itself, but have to rent the frame.
Dan and Peggy loaded everything in the car. One of our neighbor booths asked Peggy if she wanted another 6 ft table and 2 chairs since it would be too expensive for them to ship them. Brand new tables! She of course said yes but this changed the packing of the car. We didn’t rent a truck on the last day since the logistics were so complicated and every rental place except the airport car rental places close early on Sunday.
With the new table and chairs, everything we had had no longer fit in Peggys 4 door sedan so Jennifer took a TV in her car and helped Peggy unpack the car when we got back to Burbank. There was so much stuff Peggy had to make several trips with a full shopping cart. I really wanted to help but...
This whole event could not have been possible for us without Peggy’s organizing, loading and unloading and consistent work and all the friends who supported us, it really takes a village to pull this off. None of this would have been possible without the support of our Co-Executive Producer Craig Hutchison. We have a great team!
#DonnaOnTheGo #DonnaRusso #PeggyLane #Emmy #EmmyFYC #CraigHutchison #VinceDeadrickJr #FSH #FSHD #TurnerSyndrome #MercyhurstUniversity #IncludeUs #KMR #GailFordWilliamson #ALLin #DisabilityIsDiversity #DonnaOnTheBlog #AbilitiesExpo #AbilitiesExpoAmbassador #ABILITYMagazine #TolucanTimes #DeadlineHollywood #KMRDiversity #TamWarner #IWontGiveUp #TelevisionAcademy #NewZealand #Inclusion #Diversity #EMMY #Blog #TilWeBlogAgain#OutstandingDirectingForAComedy #OutstandingWritingForAComedy #OutstandingActressInAShortFormSeries #Store #OnlineStore #Blog #DonnaOnTheBlog #DonnaOnTheShop #TamWarner #ScottHislop #Hearing #CueTheMusic #Dance #DonnaOnTheGoDANCE #LaLaLand #Oscars